When my family’s Christmas presents accidentally got sent to an Eritrean Refugee:
So as many of you many know, we’ve been meeting a lot of amazing people living in the Jungle refugee camp in Calais over the last 6 months. In that time, only three of our friends have made it to the UK.
A couple of months ago we went to visit a good friend, Adam, who had successfully hidden underneath the Eurotunnel to make the dangerous journey into England, the only way to seek asylum here. He had been sent to Bolton, temporarily living in a house share there on £5 a day. The moment he is granted any papers or ability to work, this house, this money, is taken away and he will be on his own… This has since happened to another Eritrean friend living in the same house. The two of them now share a bed and the £5 a day while he searches for a job.
We went to visit with a boot full of stuff to get him through the winter. Shoes, warm clothes, when we arrived he was wearing sparkly jelly shoes he had bought in Bolton market.
Our plan had been to take him for lunch, but he had (so sweetly) already prepared it for all of us (from his £5 a day). We were so humbled by this.
So I’ll get to the point…. Me and Adam have kept in regular contact and I often ask him is he is OK and if he needs anything. He always tells me that he is very happy, that he needs nothing, he is just grateful to talk as he struggles with the fact that no one speaks to him here.
With Christmas approaching, I asked him again, ‘Is there ANYTHING I can help you with, anything at all?’ For the first time he modestly asked me for one little item he was struggling to afford. I promptly ordered it on Ebay, directly to his address, as a little Christmas pressie.
Over the next few days I happily ordered the rest of my family some presents (there are a lot of them), until I got a message from Adam:
“Hellllo Jasmeen!! I want to ask you if you send underwear cotton bralette to me. I receive today, but who is sender I don’t know!”
WHOOPS! I went all red just thinking of him confusedly unwrapping my sister’s yoga top. Laughing I explained the situation to him and thankfully he saw the funny side. The next day…
“Hellllo Jasmeen!! I have received an interesting and important lovely book. You send or not, I don’t know. But it is my guess.”
“…My mum’s “How to take Charge of your life” guide to NLP book had safely arrived to Adam’s house. Anyway, you get the idea.
He kindly offered to post them back but I saw it as another good reason to make the journey across the country to visit him. It just means my family might have to wait a littttle bit longer…SORRY GUYS!
If you have the urge to support a refugee (and when I say support, I don’t mean in the yoga bra sense) over Christmas, you know what to do…